senate Bill S6908

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to certain educational requirements for public assistance

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Mar 27, 2014 referred to social services

S6908 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A9185
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Social Services Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง131, Soc Serv L

S6908 - Bill Texts

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Relates to requiring participation in education programs leading to a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma for those seeking public assistance.

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BILL NUMBER:S6908

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation
to requiring participation in educational programs leading to a high
school diploma or high school equivalency diploma for those seeking
public assistance

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this legislation is
to increase the likelihood that individuals will obtain a high school
diploma or high school equivalency diploma by requiring those who do
not have such a diploma to participate in good faith in an educational
program leading to such a diploma as a condition for receiving welfare
benefits.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: The bill adds a new subdivision 21 to
section 131 of the social services law to prohibit the payment of
public assistance benefits to any person under the age of 35 who does
not have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma
unless such person is duly enrolled and participating in good faith
toward the attainment of such a diploma. The local social services
district is given broad discretionary authority to waive this
requirement where such a course of study is not practical or
cost-effective based on the person's mental capacity, employment
background, job training, career development credentials, health,
disability, lack of educational programs, or other factors.

JUSTIFICATION: The empirical data regarding the importance of a high
school degree is overwhelming. The vast majority of jobs require a
high school diploma or its equivalent, including participation in the
U.S. military. According to data from the U.S. Census, the average
drop-out will earn one-third less than a high school graduate, will
suffer from unemployment rates that are nearly 50% higher, and will be
nearly three times more likely to live in poverty. High school
drop-outs account for nearly 50% of the heads of households on
welfare, and commit about 75% of all crimes.

For those who are struggling to complete their high school education,
the current social services law offers an extraordinarily destructive
option of enabling a young person to drop-out of high school and
collect welfare benefits. This legislation would eliminate that option
by making it clear that participating in good faith toward obtaining a
high school diploma is a condition for any welfare benefits.

Recognizing that attaining a high school diploma or a high school
equivalency diploma is not always cost-effective or feasible, the bill
provides local social services districts with broad discretionary
authority to exempt individuals from this requirement based on their
mental health, disability, work experience, job training, the lack of
sufficient programs, or other reasonable factors.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The implementation of this bill would require
additional resources for adult education, but those costs would be
offset by reduced welfare dependency, increased fiscal independence,
reduced crime, and related savings.


EFFECTIVE DATE: This bill would become effective 120 day after
enactment.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  6908

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             March 27, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  YOUNG  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Social Services

AN ACT to amend the  social  services  law,  in  relation  to  requiring
  participation in educational programs leading to a high school diploma
  or high school equivalency diploma for those seeking public assistance

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Purpose.   The legislature hereby finds  that  obtaining  a
high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma is often essen-
tial  for  successful  private  sector employment and personal financial
independence, self-sufficiency, and success.  Indeed,  many  occupations
require  a  high  school diploma or high school equivalency diploma as a
precondition for employment. Individuals without a high  school  diploma
or  high  school  equivalency  diploma are often relegated to low paying
jobs, and suffer much higher unemployment rates than those with  a  high
school  diploma  or  high school equivalency diploma. It is therefore in
the public interest to require individuals who are capable of  obtaining
a  high  school diploma or high school equivalency diploma to be engaged
in good faith efforts to obtain that objective.
  S 2. Section 131 of the social services law is amended by adding a new
subdivision 21 to read as follows:
  21. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER OR OTHER LAW TO THE
CONTRARY, NO PUBLIC ASSISTANCE SHALL BE GIVEN TO OR FOR ANY PERSON  OVER
FIVE  YEARS OF AGE OR UNDER THIRTY-FIVE YEARS OF AGE WHO DOES NOT HAVE A
HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR A HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMA OR IS NOT  DULY
ENROLLED AND PARTICIPATING IN GOOD FAITH TOWARD THE ATTAINMENT OF A HIGH
SCHOOL  DIPLOMA OR A HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMA, UNLESS SUCH PERSON
HAS BEEN DETERMINED BY A  MEDICAL,  PSYCHIATRIC,  OR  OTHER  APPROPRIATE
PROFESSIONAL  TO  LACK  THE  REQUISITE CAPACITY TO COMPLETE SUCCESSFULLY
SUCH A COURSE OF STUDY OR THE LOCAL SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT  DETERMINES
THAT  SUCH A COURSE OF STUDY IS NOT PRACTICAL OR COST-EFFECTIVE BASED ON
THE  PERSON'S  EMPLOYMENT  BACKGROUND  OR  EXPERIENCE,   JOB   TRAINING,
POSSESSION OF A CAREER DEVELOPMENT OCCUPATIONAL STUDIES CREDENTIAL, WORK

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD11799-04-4

S. 6908                             2

SKILLS,  HEALTH, DISABILITY, THE LACK OF AVAILABLE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS,
OR OTHER FACTORS.
  S  3.  The  commissioner  of  the  office  of temporary and disability
assistance shall have the authority to promulgate  or  amend  any  regu-
lations necessary for the implementation of this act.
  S 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
it shall have become a law.

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